When the Kansas City Chiefs host the Denver Broncos on Sunday in an AFC West duel, the game will feature both one of the biggest disappointments and one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this year.
Peyton Manning and the Broncos are three games ahead in the division as of now at 7-4, and riding a five-game winning streak. However, the Chiefs who were expected to compete for a playoff spot, are a pitiful 1-9 after losing seven straight games.
At this point this game is for bragging rights in the West, and we will see if the Chiefs can play spoiler and win their first game at home this season on Sunday.
Where: Arrowhead Stadium
When: Sunday, November 25 at 1 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL.com
Betting Line: Denver (-10.5), according to Bovada
Denver Injury Report (via Yahoo! as of Nov. 20, 2012)
|Tracy Porter CB||Out||Illness|
|Jim Leonhard S||Probable||Calf|
|Chris Kuper G||Doubtful||Ankle|
|Elvis Dumervil DE||Questionable||Shoulder|
|Willis McGahee RB||Day-to-Day||Right knee|
Kansas City Injury Report (via Yahoo! as of Nov. 20, 2012)
|Brady Quinn QB||Questionable||Head|
|Ryan Lilja G||Questionable||Knee|
|Dwayne Bowe WR||Probable||Thigh|
|Jon Baldwin WR||Out||Head, neck|
|Jon Asamoah G||Out||Thumb|
What's at Stake?
There isn't much left for the Chiefs to play for this season now that they are 1-9, but it would still be nice if the team could win a game in front of its fans at home this season.
For Denver this game is a whole different story. By winning on Sunday the team will either maintain its three game lead in the AFC West, or it could extend it to four games with just four to play. It would also improve the team's divisional record to 4-0.
If Denver wins it essentially locks up a playoff spot and could compete for a first-round bye. The Chiefs, on the other hand, can only try to save face this season by upsetting Manning and the Broncos.
Denver RB Ronnie Hillman
Willis McGahee is rumored to be out for the remainder of the season for the Broncos, making Hillman the team's No. 1 back. Despite having Manning, the team still runs the ball enough to make Hillman a viable fantasy play, and he is available in 91.1 percent of ESPN leagues as of Tuesday night.
Hillman is averaging 3.8 yards per carry in his rookie campaign, and has a favorable matchup with a Kansas City defense ranked No. 27 against fantasy running backs this season.
Hillman is projected for a healthy 14 points against KC this week, but I could see him going for even more. Make sure to pick him up if you still can after the waiver claims process.
Kansas City WR Dwayne Bowe
There aren't many options that I like against Denver's stingy defense this week. I absolutely refuse to start a Kansas City quarterback, and the Broncos are ranked No. 5 in the league against the run this season.
That leaves receivers.
Bowe has exactly twice as many receiving yards as the next closest player this season (Dexter McCluster), and averaged 8.5 targets per game in the four games leading up to last week.
Even with him being on the injury report, Bowe is the only guy I would even consider starting this week for the Chiefs.
What They Are Saying
Bowe is Kansas City's best player, and the team simply cannot afford to play without him this week against a tough divisional foe.
Key Matchup: Kansas City rushing attack vs. Denver run defense
KC's offense is based around the team's ground game, led by Jamaal Charles. The team surprisingly ranks No. 4 in the league with 145.4 rushing yards per game, but the Broncos allowed less than 100 yards per game and are ranked No. 5.
This game pits two great factions against each other, and it will be interesting to see which side wins out.
Simply put, the Broncos are better than the Chiefs. Unless the Chiefs can pull off a true miracle, Denver will run away with this game.
Broncos 38, Chiefs 10